For months now the future of T-Mobile US has been the basis of an ongoing weekly sitcom. With as many twists and turns as ABC’s ‘Lost’, it now seems the season finale is upon us and again is just as disappointing as the finale of Lost was. At least certainly from Iliad, the French Telecoms perspective as they have finally (and officially) declared themselves out. It all began back in July when at the time the only debate was when Sprint and T-Mobile would secure terms as the deal between the two carriers (although slow) seemed certain. However, then towards the end of July the two companies were caught off-guard when Iliad threw they hat into the ring with a $15 Billion offer for a 56.6% share in T-Mobile. This was immediately expected to be rejected by T-Mobile and this was partly due to the assumption Iliad were not capable of realistically making such an offer as their-own market value barely exceeded the offer amount itself. However, once the dust settled and Iliad explained they were serious the shockwave of their offer remained. Since then Sprint officially withdrew their interest although this opened the door for talks between Softbank (who are actually the parent company of Sprint) and T-Mobile. In spite of this Iliad still did remain very much in the spotlight.
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Since then, rumors and releases have continually been batted back and forth suggesting whether Iliad would increase their original $15 Billion offer (which equated to roughly $33 a share). Iliad themselves were reportedly allowing a deadline of mid-October to decide whether they would up the ante. Well, here we are, almost bang-on the middle of October and Iliad have shown their hand. They are out and no longer interested in pursuing any kind of deal for the US carrier. In today’s press release from Iliad, they have officially confirmed their decision to end talks over T-Mobile. Although it is worth noting Iliad did actively suggest this was due to Deutsche Telekom (the parent company of T-Mobile) and selected T-Mobile US board members failure to “entertain its new offer“. According to the release Iliad were hoping to make the acquisition by increasing the acquisition share capital from 56.6% up to 67% which in-turn make the new share value on the table roughly $36 per share. However, as noted it seems the powers-that-be behind T-Mobile were not as keen.
Either way it now seems the Iliad/T-Mobile saga has come to its natural end. What this means for T-Mobile is unclear although their actions recently seem to suggest they are not so desperate to sell so quickly or so cheaply. Whether this again allows for further talks between Softbank and T-Mobile, or a renewed interest from Softbank’s subsidiary Sprint or even a new buyer only time will tell.